Internet users will find it harder to search for illegally streamed live football matches, pirated music and other creative materials under a new plan to crack down on piracy websites.
Search engine giants Google and Bing have signed up to a voluntary code of practice aimed at protecting users’ safety and prevent them from visiting disreputable content providers.
The code, the first of its kind in the UK, will accelerate the demotion of illegal sites following notices from rights holders.
It means those who search for content such as music videos, digital books and football coverage will more likely to be taken to bona fide providers rather than pirate sites where a user’s security may be at risk.
Eddy Leviten, director-general at the Alliance for Intellectual Property, said: “Sometimes people will search for something and they will end up unwittingly being taken to a pirated piece of content.
“What we want to ensure is that the results at the top of the search engines are the genuine ones.
“It is about protecting people who use the internet, but also protecting the creators of that material too.
“You go into schools and speak to children and many will say they want to be on YouTube, to be a personality on there.
“When you explain to them that they need to protect their ideas, their content, from being stolen or pirated, they understand.”
Organisers say this agreement will run in parallel with existing anti-piracy measures aimed at reducing online infringement.
These include court-ordered site blocking, work with brands to reduce advertising on illegal sites and the Get it Right From A Genuine Site consumer education campaign, which encourages fans to value the creative process and directs them to legal sources of content.
The changes are expected to be rolled out by the (northern) summer.